Recently, I decided I needed to expand my anime horizons a little bit. I'm always trying to do that on my own, but my choices are inevitably guided by my personal tastes - or because I'm an anime writer, what's popular. This means that I sometimes miss out on less widely discussed shows that I don't immediately vibe with.
I also wanted to get my friends to watch certain anime that were flying under their radars - shows that I thought were brilliant, and wanted to share.
To accomplish both things, I asked on Facebook if anyone wanted to do an anime viewing swap - in exchange for me watching an anime of their choice, I could assign them an anime of similar length. To my delight, two friends, I'll call them V and K, responded.
Take my beautiful pig - I mean anime!
V is really into old school anime. Whenever we talk about anime in a broad sense, he brings up shows like Yu Yu Hakusho, Fushigi Yuugi, and other series I slept on because back in the 90's and 2000's I wasn't into anime as a whole so much as I was into whatever singular anime I was obsessed with at the time. I know I need to fill in the gaps in my classic anime knowledge, so when V suggested I watch Fushigi Yuugi, I jumped at the chance. In exchange, I asked V to watch March Comes In Like A Lion, a more recent anime about a depressed shogi player. The art is absolutely stunning, and the character development is top notch. I wanted to choose something he likely would never have picked up on his own, but which was high quality enough that he would appreciate it.
K is into general nerd stuff, and is more anime-adjacent than specifically an anime fan, but she has a few series that she really enjoys. One of those is Big Windup!, a 25-episode baseball anime. I'd been meaning to watch this one for a while anyway, since I love sports anime and I love protagonists with anxiety, but I just hadn't gotten around to it. Hopefully, an exchange will provide me with the motivation to actually sit down and watch something I know I'll enjoy. Because I know that K likes fantasy, I suggested one of my favorite anime, The Eccentric Family, which is an anime about a world populated by tengu, tanuki, and humans, and all the political and emotional turmoil that comes from clashes between the three groups. It's an utter delight, but sadly, it's not well-known.
So far, I've seen two episodes of Fushigi Yuugi, and one episode of Big Windup! I'm enjoying both, though left to my own devices I might have dropped Fushigi Yuugi after episode one - which is why I'm glad I'm doing this, so I don't give into temptation and skip out on a classic just because it doesn't hook me right away. I don't know how this challenge will go, but I'm hoping all three of us will have a good experience. Have you ever tried an anime viewing swap? How did it go? Let us know in the comments.